May 19, 2014


'"Winter Sleep" is unabashed essay cinema that makes difficulty its prime artistic objective. Not difficulty of interpretation, you understand: Ceylan has perhaps never presented his ideas quite so forthcomingly, as his actors converse in self-sealed analytical paragraphs that allow little room for idiosyncratic reading or reflection... Ceylan has never been a merchant of merriment, and nor should he be: his best films have achieved a kind of humane grace through their severity that rewards the work they require. Recently, his foray into genre-infused territory -- the dense procedural web of "Once Upon a Time in Anatolia," the florid noir of "Three Monkeys" -- gave punch and urgency to his more remote thematic preoccupations. " Winter Sleep" steps back from that development, returning to the less disciplined, ruminative structures of "Distant" or "Climates," though with the grandiose formal heft he has since cultivated.... The perils of verbosity is indeed one of the talking points in a film that isn't devoid of self-awareness: "Sometimes the disguise of lyricism makes it stink of sentimentality," says Necla (Demet Akbag) witheringly to her brother Aydin (Haluk Biginer) a pompous, embittered actor-turned-hotelier-turned-essayist who has seemingly devoted himself to none of these professions with the commitment of his full-time gasbaggery. She's having a dig at the rhetoric-heavy advice columns he writes for the local paper in their sleepy Anatolian village.'" — Guy Lodge, HiFix
* An occasional column devoted to those books, movies and art works which would, on balance, better serve us by remaining unread, unwatched and unseen, based on the principle that our reactions to art in absentia can be every bit as rich and meaningful as to works demanding our urgent personal attention. Previous entries here, here, here, and here.

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